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Major achievement in heart surgery: new implant used to treat heart valve disease

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(Vienna, 14-09-2020) In a complex operation, Martin Andreas' team from the Division of Cardiac Surgery at MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital has successfully placed a new type of implant in a patient with mitral regurgitation. The minimally invasive procedure was the only available option to treat this female patient.

Mitral regurgitation is one of the commonest heart valve diseases requiring treatment. In this disease, the mitral valve no longer closes tightly, causing blood to back up in the left atrium. Shortness of breath is one of the serious consequences. A new type of implant, known as the Carillon system, has been developed to treat the disease. Two anchors connected by a shaping ribbon are implanted to reduce the dangerous reflux of blood.

Minimally invasive procedure particularly important for patients
The special features of the new implant are that it does not impinge on the mitral valve itself nor on future treatment options and can be inserted in a minimally invasive procedure.

"In this particular case, the Carillon system was the only suitable option to treat the patient. She had already undergone a serious operation and her heart was significantly displaced. This meant that the operation was complex, but placement of the implant is minimally invasive. The patient was discharged just two days after the procedure," says Martin Andreas from the Division of Cardiac Surgery at MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital, which is led by Günther Laufer.

New implant inserted by interdisciplinary heart team
The complex operation was performed by Martin Andreas together with Markus Mach and cardiologist Georg Goliasch (Department of Medicine II) as an interdisciplinary heart team.

"We work as an interdisciplinary heart team and, as the procedures become increasingly less invasive, there is more and more cross-over between disciplines. This means we are able to treat heart valve diseases that were previously impossible to treat or involved high risk procedures," reports Andreas. "It is the excellent collaboration between cardiologist and heart surgeon that allows the optimum application of new treatment options, thereby improving the outcome for patients in the long term."

This is the first time in the world that the Carillon system has been implanted by a heart surgeon. Up until now, this procedure has only been performed by cardiologists.